Blog Index

Building 6: The Tragedy at Bridesburg

"Few of the men who worked with the deadly gas at Bridesburg got away alive... In some cases, entire circles of men who had come to be as close as members of a family were decimated."

Building 6 was located inside the Bridesburg (Philadelphia) plant of Rohm and Haas Corp., a Fortune 500 chemical company. Beginning in the 1950s, Building 6 was the production site for the chemical CME and its byproduct, BCME. Years later, workers who had been exposed to BCME began to die of respiratory cancer while still on the job, one after another.

The authors unravel the harrowing story of how the tragedy took place—how workers labored under Dickensian conditions, why researchers who suspected BCME was a killer later complained the company wouldn't cooperate; how a young physician went around the company by assembling his own health and exposure histories by interviewing a dying patient; and how the company reacted after studies confirmed BCME's astonishing toxicity. The revelations in the book led to legal action by victims' families against Rohm and Haas, and they received a multi-million dollar settlement from the company.

"Building 6 is investigative reporting at its best...It's a muckraking spellbinder..."

-Jack Anderson, syndicated newspaper columnist

"This may be the definitive book on man's corporate inhumanity to man. What makes Building 6 so much more than just another expose of how big business kills is that the victims of this tragedy are imprinted on our minds and consciences as vigorous, living people who die as friends die. We come to know them, laugh with them, drink with them, then aghast, stand by helpless as cancer wastes them."

-Les Whitten, syndicated newspaper columnist

Building 6 is out of print. Ask for it at your library or through a used bookseller.